Discussion 1: Sep 2015


Jesus, I am so sorry for my sins. Forgive me. I repent. Thanks for dying on the cross to pay for my sins and then rising from the dead. Come into my heart. Write "AMEN" to ask Jesus to save you. ***Start a closer relationship with Jesus using our free Jesus Grow Pack at www.JesusDaily.org


TH - 15/08/30 12:37 Asking Jesus to come into your heart is good, but it shouldn't be relied upon as a means of salvation. Jesus never promised to save an asker, He promised to save believers ... and believers don't ask Jesus to do something He's already done. :)

TB - 15/08/31 04:04 Asking is inviting. Inviting a real person knocking at the door seems to indicate belief that Person is standing there. Knocking. The choice is to open the door and let Him come in. Rev. 3:20. Remember, the Devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19

TH - 15/08/31 22:40 Belief that a Person is standing there knocking does not save. smile emoticon Asking the Person to come in also does not save. That is why there are no examples of anyone doing this in the Scripture. :)

When we know that Christ's death atones for our sins, we will know we are saved by Him ... there is nothing left to ask for in order to be saved. Until we know this we should be asking him to help us know it ... not come into our hearts while we persist in this unbelief ... for this He will not do. It may sound like I am splitting hairs, but for some people, like myself, it is the difference between heaven and He'll ... an altogether different gospel.

TB - 15/09/01 02:52 Splitting hairs? Maybe so. But with a topic so important it is important to have a solid understanding. Fortunately for us, He does not require an in depth and complete understanding of all the implications. Matt. 18:3, Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17 That full comprehension comes slowly as we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 And, it will likely continue to grow throughout all eternity. As we re-read the original post, it shows us that this individual has recognized his/her sin, and asks for forgiveness, expresses an attitude of repentance, and acknowledges the fact of Christ's resurrection. The addition step of "inviting the Lord into the heart" is not necessary, but like with any personal relationship, opening the figurative door of one's "heart" (inner most being) and inviting that Person in is a good thing. Going back to Rev. 3:20, we see that picture. I believe it is a good thing to "invite" the Lord into my life and activity each and every day. It helps me to acknowledge His Lordship in my life. My personal testimony is that I had "asked" and "invited" the Lord into my life several times, but never really felt "saved." I "knew" and believed all the facts (head knowledge), but still was not saved or born again. One day, while contemplating these things, I realized that I "believed" He had died for MY sins, I "accepted" the fact as truth for ME, and it was at that moment I realized that I was saved. It was then, and remains for me the time that I point to as the dividing line of B.C. and A.D. for me. It's probably a good thing that I cannot remember the exact date. I am so amazed with the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about conversion. John 3:8 comes to mind! As I continue to chew on these things, it hits me that we will never fully understand the working of God in bringing many sons to glory Hebrews 2:10 I know of one group of people who teach that in order to be saved one must believe in the heart, AND confess with the mouth. Using Romans 10:9-10, they push people to make a public confession. And some who have made that public confession under duress are no more saved than the chair they are sitting in. There is an article that came out a couple years ago in the magazine Christianity Today that addresses this overall topic: Should We Stop Asking Jesus to Come Into our Hearts? . Some food for thought, and probably "strong meat", but very worthwhile the reading.

TH - 15/09/03 23:31 Wow! Our testimonies are so very similar. I could not agree with you more. Salvation is definitely the work of God, and it is both mysterious and wonderful. I try to discourage those who are not sure they are saved to do some ritual, like praying the sinner's prayer. I just don't think that is a biblical approach to assurance. looking to the cross and seeking faith from God seems like the right move.

TB - 15/09/02 17:47 Salvation is described as a "gift" (Eph. 2:8-9) A gift that is not received or accepted is of no benefit to the intended recipient. I think that in our zeal to share that news with others, sometimes we Christians can fall into the trap of not explaining fully what the gift really is, and what it means to know that our sins are forgiven.

There is the other reality of being a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). We are born again when we "repent and believe the gospel", and we become brand new creatures because we have the Spirit of God in our lives.

The gospel is simple, "…Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures…"(1 Cor. 15:3-4) But Paul also uses the words "received" & "believe", and refers to himself as having "received". I don't have a problem telling people that they need to receive or accept the gift, and that act may be accompanied by the words. We must remember what Samuel recorded in 1 Sam. 16:7: "for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." We cannot see what transpires in a person's innermost being between them and God. But we can observe, and as time goes on, we can evaluate the fruits (Matt. 7:16-20)

The Great Commission is not to just elicit "professions of faith", but rather, the Commission is to "make disciples". The biggest mistake we make is to not have the commitment to follow up with discipleship. Paul exhorted his own disciple Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, (2Tim. 4:5) but also contained in that charge is to "make full proof of thy ministry". I don't think he had in mind filling an arena with 30,000 people and have them do an altar call. Years ago, I was involved with bringing a Billy Graham movie to the local theatre. The preparation on our part was huge, because the commitment was to do follow up and discipleship with those who would respond. I believe the reason so many people fall away after making a profession is that there is no follow up to help them understand what it really means. I also believe in some cases that the conversion actually happens at that moment, but sometimes it happens after.

I also don't have a problem when people express concern about their security. Paul also tells us that we need to examine (our)selves,( 2 Cor 13:5). Something helpful I heard a long time ago relates to it being written. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He responded each time with the words "it is written". We can write in our Bible about when and how we came to faith. Of course, we understand that writing doesn't save us, but it serves as a reminder or "monument", and scripture reminds of importance of boundary stones (monuments) (Proverbs 22:28) The old hymn "Standing on the Promises" speaks to this: "Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God."

Working in the Great Commission is hard work, full of traps set by the Enemy. But Christ has promised the victory!

TH - 15/09/03 23:04 Awesome Comments!

Briefly for now, I would like to propose that whether a gift needs to be actively received in order to be a gift depends on the nature of the gift itself. Consider a friend who decides to pay off all of your debt: he meets with each of your creditors and satisfies the terms of each account and closes each one. Done. You find out about this after the fact ... and there is nothing to do but just be thankful and rejoice! smile emoticon Trying to "receive" such a gift is to misunderstand the nature of the gift itself.

Soberly consider the implications of wrong thinking here, where a sinner is told he must "receive" the gift of God, when God's gift is really the cancellation of a debt and an undeservable, unearnable imputation of perfect righteousness. If a sinner is told the truths of the Gospel and claims to believe them without already being in a state complete assurance and rejoicing in a salvation that is already accomplished, then I believe he is actually failing to understand and believe the Gospel. When we hear, "Christ died for you, now you must " ... and we add anything at all but believe and rejoice, then I claim we are missing the whole point of the Gospel and construing and misrepresenting it beyond recognition. Can people still "get saved" resonding to such a message? Absolutely! Is it far more likely that they will walk away still unsaved, unregenerate, unsure, doubting, and hoping it worked this time, and in doing so really take one more step closer to Hell itself? I think so.

It should be no surprise that Billy Graham's testimony is that he has never had assurance of salvation. The mechanics of the sinners prayer and the way we generally hear the Gospel presented are so poor and unbiblical that it really does take an act of God to save someone in the process. And I guess this is the whole point: no one ever gets saved other than by a supernatural act of God. God will reach His elect one way or another, but I think it behoves us to leave the lost in their unsettled and troubled condition, if that is their present testimony, and encourage them to continue to seek faith from God until they have it. The very worst thing we can do to another human being is comfort them with a false hope of salvation: we can stoop no lower than this. We must be prayerful, and careful, and stick with the Word -- no formulas or mechanics where the Bible gives neither direction nor example.

Faith in Christ + nothing.

More later ... maybe. I can't think of a more important topic ... REALLY! :)

TB - 15/09/03 23:20

Faith in Christ + nothing! Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace through faith... Surely you are not proposing that a person is saved in the same way as the debt is paid by one's friend in your discussion. There must be an act of the will. Otherwise, everyone would be saved, simply because Christ died. Jn 3:16 "...whosoever would (will)... and Matt 7:13-14 "Enter ye at the strait gate...", seems to indicate we have a choice. In your discussion, you say "... it is far more likely that they will walk away still unsaved..." also indicates that you believe there is a choice to be made, an act of the will, if you will. A very fine line for sure, but thankfully, the Holy Spirit Himself is the active agent, who "works in you both the will and to do..." Brother, I am sure we will never be able to plumb the depths of this question, as greater minds have discussed and disagreed on it for centuries. These days we oversimplify the discussion in terms of John Calvin & Jacobus Arminius. It is sad that some will never get to the full realization of the blessings that come with full assurance, but does that mean they are not saved? Also sad, is that some have assurance, but it is based on a flase foundation, i.e., their "profession" or "acceptance" of Christ's finished work. Also sad, is the case of those who became convinced by man of the "irresistible" nature of grace, and have never repented, and have never been born again, have never been created a new creature in Christ Jesus. Yes, good discussion...

TH - 15/09/04 22:35 I do think the debt illustration is legit: if an "act of the will" is not a human work then what is? And if we require a "work" in answer to "What must I do to be saved?" we have a works-based gospel. If I said one must "believe and be baptized" it would be more obvious; Faith + anything is all the same lie. It isn't splitting hairs … it's getting the gospel right.

"Receiving Christ" happens when one believes the good news that Christ has fully and permanently resolved their sin problem. (Is 53:11) This state produces assurance by definition. (1Th 1:5) It's not a decision we make but a state of being, one we should seek … but we can no more put ourselves in it by an act of our will than we can jump to the moon. Faith is a gift that moves the emotions and the will; it is not sourced in Man. The absence of assurance is doubt by definition, lack of faith in Christ, a sure sign of unbelief.

Suggesting this view implies everyone is saved relies on a simplistic view of the atonement; once we realize Christ's death is not bound by time we find the atonement to be effectual in actually saving all and only those who believe, yet also available to anyone who will seek God.

If the atonement is not effectual in itself we place the burden of salvation on the sinner: money in the bank won't pay our debts off. But the Word says Christ Himself pays them (Is 53:11, He 1:3, etc.) Those who resist must turn for assurance to something other than Christ and what He has done. It is a different message with a much different effect on the soul.

We need to put God back in the Gospel; we've taken the supernatural out and broken it. Being regenerated requires an act of God; He must raise us from the dead, give us life (Eph 2:1), including a supernatural faith that His Son has fully paid our sin debt. We can't get there by mechanizing it with any kind of ritual or work. To stop short of Faith In Christ is to miss everything. To have this one thing from God is to have God Himself. Those who refuse to live without this will seek the face of God until they find it. (Heb 11:6) Those who are content to live without it reveal an enmity against God which only God Himself can cure.

Loving the debate!! You might be interested in my
full thesis here. I would love your feedback on it! :)

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